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House Speaker Takes Action to Avoid Government Shutdown

In order to prevent a government shutdown on Saturday, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) has decided to accelerate his stopgap funding proposal for consideration on the House floor on Tuesday. This decision comes after it became clear that Republicans would not be able to pass the bill within their own divided ranks.

Members of the hard-right faction were planning to block the bill by preventing a critical procedural hurdle known as a rule vote. They were angry that Johnson had rejected their requests to include spending cuts, border security provisions, and funding for Israel in the proposal. 

To avoid a defeat that would have been embarrassing, GOP leaders made the late decision on Monday to attempt to pass the package by suspending the House rules. However, this procedural maneuver will require two-thirds support from the House, meaning that Republicans will need the help of Democrats to pass the legislation.

Both Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have endorsed the two-tiered plan in the Senate. 

Johnson’s decision to dismiss the concerns of the far right comes after weeks of engaging with Republicans across the ideologically divided conference and producing a compromise proposal. The proposal neither fully satisfies the hard-liners’ demands for spending cuts nor the centrists’ requests to extend existing funding levels.

The speaker has faced criticism from both sides for his approach. 

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While some hard-line Republicans are frustrated with Johnson’s actions, they have indicated that they will not seek to remove him from the speakership. Unlike in the past, when Republicans used this strategic move to express their disapproval of leadership decisions, far-right members will not make a motion to vacate Johnson. 

House Democrats will meet on Tuesday to assess how many lawmakers will support the proposal. It is worth noting that in late September, nearly 100 more Democrats than Republicans supported a similar plan put forth by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. 

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The demands for significant spending cuts from hard-right Republicans have created divisions within the GOP conference. These demands have caused delays in the consideration of several appropriation bills and have led to internal fights within the party.

The uncertainty surrounding the passage of all 12 appropriation bills and the potential need for compromise with the Senate has raised concerns about whether House Republicans can fund the government for the full fiscal year. 

While some hard-liners believe that they did not achieve a victory in Johnson’s proposal, many governing-minded Republicans argue that the Speaker did adopt their two-tiered approach.

They believe that this compromise was necessary to prevent a government shutdown during the holiday season. However, Johnson may face backlash from the Freedom Caucus if the current plan is adopted.

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